Jason Day has top odds entering The Barclays at Bethpage Black

Leave a comment

In 2015, Jason Day won The Barclays by six strokes, but this year’s opener of the FedEx Cup playoffs will be contested at the daunting Bethpage Black course.

Bethpage, located in Farmingdale, New York, typically plays the toughest of any course used for The Barclays. The 7,468-yard par-71 layout will boast narrow fairways and fast greens, putting a premium on hitting fairways and achieving greens in regulation. Day is listed as the favorite at +750, with Dustin Johnson drawing in at +900 and Rory McIlroy at +1000.

Day will be playing for the first time since the PGA Championship, where he finished as the runner-up after handling the scrutiny and extra attention that comes with being defending champion. That part of his mental game, along with the three-week break, could help Day going into the tournament.

Johnson finished third at the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black. Johnson missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but prior to that had earned seven top-12 finishes in a row, including his U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational victories.

McIlroy has been inconsistent in 2016, with two missed cuts in majors.

Justin Rose (+2200 on The Barclays odds) and Henrik Stenson (+1200) captured the Olympic gold and silver medals last week in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, that tournament was on a links course, and Rose being 149th on the tour in driving accuracy percentage is a red flag.

Stenson, who won the British Open before getting on the Olympic podium for Sweden, is having a big year, but there’s always the question of how long he can sustain his great run.

The tournament is also the last opportunity for golfers to play their way into consideration for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Bubba Watson (+3300) is outside of an automatic qualification spot, so he has incentive to play well, on top of the momentum from his eighth-place finish while representing the United States in Rio.

Rickie Fowler (+4000) is in the top five of the PGA in strokes gained from tee to green. That kind of efficiency will come to the fore at an event where birdies could be hard to come by. Fowler needs a strong result to rate a Ryder Cup spot.

Another longshot on the golf betting lines at the sportsbooks with a great value price is the 23-year-old Argentine, Emiliano Grillo (+8000). Grillo is in the top 20 in the PGA in driving accuracy, while also being long off the tee. Being long and straight will be paramount this weekend.

The top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings after The Barclays move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Labor Day weekend.

Americans favored against Europe as they look to reclaim Ryder Cup

Leave a comment

The tried-and-true narrative with the Ryder Cup is that Europe somehow manages to outfox the United States, which once again is the betting favorite for the biennial competition.

Europe has won eight of the past 10 competitions, including six of the last seven. With the Ryder Cup slated to begin Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chasta, Minnesota, captain Davis Love III’s American squad is a -185 favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Captain Darren Clarke’s Europe team is a +145 underdog to win.

Along with home soil, the Americans have the 7-5 edge in world Top 20 players and a 10-7 edge in players with experience in the tournament. The Americans have not won more than 7½ of a possible 12 points from the Sunday singles matches since their memorable comeback in 1999, but having the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed could make a difference on the final day.

Johnson headlines the top U.S. player board at +350. Spieth is listed at +450 and Reed is at +600. Jimmy Walker, the PGA championship winner and one of the better American putters, is listed at +1600.

Rory McIlroy, fresh off capturing the FedEx Cup, is a +450 favorite to be Europe’s top player. It is worth nothing that McIlroy is playing for a fellow Northern Ireland native, Clarke. Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who respectively won the Olympic gold medal and British Open this summer, are listed at +550.

Rickie Fowler, who has never won a Ryder Cup match, is a +225 favorite to be the top U.S. wild card (also known as a captain’s pick). Matt Kuchar has a +240 payout, with J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore each listed at +300.

Martin Kaymer, at +150, and Lee Westwood, at +160, are neck-on-neck in the top Europe wild card prop. Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters (+225) is a big hitter whose burgeoning rapport with Stenson could carry over to the course.

For top U.S. rookie, Brooks Koepka is -120 and Moore is -110 on those golf betting lines.

Danny Willett is +300 to be the top performer among the half-dozen rookies on the Europe team. Pieters, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Matthew Fitzpatrick are each listed at +400.

The competition begins with fourballs and foursomes matches on Friday and Saturday, before the all-important 12 singles matches on Sunday. Each of the 28 matches is worth one point (with a half-point for a tie), and the first team to accumulate 14½ points wins.

Europe is 10-7-1 since the current Ryder Cup format was introduced in 1979.

Dustin Johnson Johnson brings good history into final FedExCup event as betting favorite

Leave a comment

The combination of course history and coming in hot makes Dustin Johnson the betting favorite for the Tour Championship, the finale of the FedExCup playoff.

Johnson, one of the five players who will capture the FedExCup if he wins this weekend, is listed at +450 to win the tournament at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Not only is Johnson fresh off capturing the BMW Championship, but he has been in the top 10 three times in a row at the Tour Championship.

The layout and length of par-70 East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta places an emphasis on accuracy, but also requires being long off the tee. East Lake’s nines have been flipped, so the 18th hole is now a 600-yard par-5.

Rory McIlroy, who is sixth in the playoff standings, is the second favorite at +600 on the golf betting lines. McIlroy is  a past runner-up (in 2014) at the Tour Championship.

Jason Day (+800), Adam Scott (+1000), Paul Casey (+1400) and Patrick Reed (+1600) are the other four who would automatically win the FedExCup if they win the tournament, although the PGA Tour’s point system gives all 30 players a mathematical chance of winning.

Day should be clear of the back pain that caused him to withdraw from the BMW Championship midway through the final round. The Australian has three top 10 finishes in his last five starts at East Lake. Jordan Spieth, who is also listed at +800, is the defending champion, but his showings of late have been consistency decent, rather than spectacular.

Scott leads the PGA in shots gained from tee to green, and has been fourth in the last three FedExCup events. The Australian is the epitome of consistency.

Casey is 2-for-2 at placing in the top five of this event, and was second at the BMW and Deutsche Bank tournaments. The Englishman is ineligible for the Ryder Cup, so this is a chance to finish his season on a high note.

Reed has finished 19th and 27th in two career Tour championships. A player of his caliber will likely figure out the course eventually, but presently that makes him a longshot.

A sidebar to the tournament, of course, is that U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will make his final pick on Sunday. Whether that provides motivation or a stifling pressure for the likes of Bubba Watson (+3300) or Ryan Moore (+4000) will be interesting.